Paper Books are Pure Vanity
Paper books are a function of pure vanity. That’s the truth. Now that e-readers are so damn effective, there is no excuse for buying tattooed tree carcasses anymore.
Six months ago, I bought a Kindle because I like the idea of being able to bring thousands of books with me in a 10 ounce package. Especially for back-country hiking and camping trips where every ounce (or lack thereof) counts. I fell in love with the Kindle immediately. I read more books, faster, and fully renewed my love of reading novels. I loved how I the Kindle would tell me exactly what percentage of the book I had read. Just a few more percent...just one more percent...done!
A few weeks ago, I bought the latest version of the Kindle, which is now weighs only 8.5 ounces. In a word: it’s amazing. And I seriously can’t imagine going back to dead trees. Especially with the knowledge that e-readers will continue to get better as new display technologies evolve and new features arise. My Kindle already lets me see what parts of the book other people highlight, and I look forward to the day when I can highlight a character’s name, and have a Wikipedia-like article explain who the hell that character is again! I look forward to chatting live with other people reading the same book. Or even meeting people that like and read the same books as me. There is so much potential for e-reading and e-readers.
I was reluctant to make the digital switch, but then I was honest with myself. The only reason I wanted to hold onto to old way was because I wanted to showcase my bookish gallivanting. I wanted the world to know that I am a proud and prolific reader. What folly!
Not even a week ago, just west of Boulder, in the wooded foothills, there was a devastating fire. it tore through 170 homes and left hundreds of people homeless and completely without possessions. I have personally driven around some of the fire’s victims in my cab and each of them were so (oddly) serene about literally losing everything. One of them noted, “I’m alive. My family’s alive. My friend’s are alive. I still have everything.”
And it got me thinking. I really don’t need any “things” either. I thought about everything I own. I don’t give a shit about any of it. They’re just atoms. And there will always be plenty of atoms to go around. I don’t need actual books...I just want the ideas, the thoughts, contained within them. And with a Kindle...those ideas are NOT contained. If your Kindle falls prey to a fire’s ravenous snare and becomes a smoldering plastic puddle gurgling in a field of smoke and ashes...tomorrow, you can buy another one and download all your books again in just a few seconds.
The “digitization” of everything is what we should strive for. Imagine if YOU were digitized too? Imagine if your body was destroyed and you could simple “download” the contents of your brain into another body. This is the future. Material shit will eventually just be all in your mind. Hell, maybe it already is.